All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect.
That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children of God. Such people can connect with everybody. They don’t feel the need to eliminate anybody . . .
~Richard Rohr, Healing Our Violence through the Journey of Centering Prayer (Compact disc edition)
The slavery that keeps us from following our goodness is an inner slavery. We are trapped by ideas of worthlessness and lack of self-esteem, by desire or greed or ignorance. Enslaved by notions of victimhood or entitlement. It is a story of the fear of change, about clinging to places and behaviors that are small and hurtful because letting go of them will mean facing something unknown. I heard again my grandfather’s words: “The choice is never between slavery and freedom; we must always choose between slavery and the unknown.”
~Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings
…We are all more than we know. Wholeness is never lost, it is only forgotten. Integrity rarely means that we need to add something to ourselves: it is more an undoing than a doing, a freeing ourselves from beliefs we have about who we are and ways we have been persuaded to “fix” ourselves to know who we genuinely are. Even after many years of seeing, thinking, and living one way, we are able to reach past all that to claim our integrity and live in a way we may never have expected to live. Being with people at such times is like watching them pat their pockets, trying to remember where they have put their soul. . . .
Often in reclaiming the freedom to be who we are, we remember some basic human quality, an unsuspected capacity for love or compassion or some other part of our common birthright as human beings. What we find is almost always a surprise but it is also familiar; like something we have put in the back of a drawer long ago, once we see it we know it as our own.
~Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom
Your way begins at the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.
Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.
I tell my students, “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”
Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
There is a need to find and sing our own song, to stretch our limbs and shake them in a dance so wild that nothing can roost there, that stirs the yearning for solitary voyage.
~Barbara Lazear Ascher
For more quotes about freedom: https://pathwriter.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/quotes-for-the-4th/
The beauty is forever there before us, forever piping to us, and we are forever failing to dance. We could not help but dance if we could see things as they really are. Then we should kiss both hands to Fate and fling our bodies, hearts, minds, and souls into life with a glorious abandonment, an extravagant delighted loyalty, knowing that our wildest enthusiasm cannot more than brush the hem of the real beauty and joy and wonder that are always there.
~Margaret Prescott Montague
You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, but rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.
I guess it’s time.
I’ve known it for a while, at least on an unconscious level. I’ve resisted it for several reasons, including this one: I’m just plain exhausted from jumping off proverbial cliffs…especially when they land me in places that end up being a struggle, which has been the case more often than not the last few years.
Nevertheless, here I am, preparing for another big leap. After digging in my heels for a couple of years now and resisting what I knew to be true deep in my heart, I finally came a place of surrender (“Uncle, already!”) a couple of weeks ago. I finally accepted what my inner being and the Universe (or my inner being through the Universe) have been trying to tell me for quite a while. Even though I know the big picture of where I’m headed, I haven’t a clue about the steps that will take me there, but I’m letting go of the wheel, so to speak. Kind of scary, but a relief, too.
I’ve spent a lot of energy these few last years trying to will things to happen, to will my path to open, to will my next steps to reveal themselves. However, in moments of calm, I remember—I know—this doesn’t work. The times when my life worked best were the times when I thought about what I wanted, kept my eyes open for opportunities, and then allowed those things to flow my way.
If this all sounds a little “woo-woo” to you, Continue reading
I know the way you can get
When you have not had a drink of Love:
Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
And call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
To help your mind and soul.
Even angels fear that brand of madness
That arrays itself against the world
And throws sharp stones and spears into
And into one’s self.
O I know the way you can get
If you have not been drinking Love:
You might rip apart
Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
Looking for hidden clauses.
You might weigh every word on a scale
Like a dead fish.
You might pull out a ruler to measure
From every angle in your darkness
The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once
I know the way you can get
If you have not had a drink from Love’s
That is why all the Great Ones speak of
The vital need
To keep remembering God,
So you will come to know and see Him
As being so Playful
Just Wanting to help.
That is why Hafiz says:
Bring your cup near me.
For all I care about
Is quenching your thirst for freedom!
All a Sane man can ever care about
Is giving Love!
There is no need for us all to be alike and think the same way, neither do we need a common enemy to force us to come together and reach out to each other. If we allow ourselves and everyone else the freedom to fully individuate as spiritual beings in human form, there will be no need for us to be forced by worldly circumstances to take hands and stand together. Our souls will automatically want to flock together, like moths to the flame of our shared Divinity, yet each with wings covered in the glimmering colors and unique patterns of our individual human expression.
~Anthon St. Maarten
It’s not impermanence, per se, or even knowing we’re going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it’s our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness. Another word for that is freedom—freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human.
~Pema Chodron, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change
Joy and hope are never separate. I have never met a hopeful person who was depressed or a joyful person who had lost hope…It is important to become aware that at every moment of our life we have the opportunity to choose joy. It is in the choice that our true freedom lies, and that freedom is, in the final analysis, the freedom to love.
~ Henri Nouwen